How We Started

Terra began in 1971 as a small group of young moms who wanted more for themselves and their children. They were determined to complete their high school education striving for a more promising future. These young women were the drivers behind MOVE – The Association for Assistance to Unwed Mothers being established. This was the first step towards shaping Terra’s pregnancy centre as it is today. In these early years the mission was entirely focused on high school completion and providing counselling services while encouraging young moms to support each other. In 1974, the name of the organization was changed to Terra –Meeting the Challenge of Teen Pregnancy. At about that time, approximately 100 young moms in were being served and more teachers and social work staff were needed. New funding from United Way and Health Canada (Public Health Agency of Canada) brought new opportunities to grow and meet more needs of young parents.

Picture 010

Terra’s Child and Family Support Centre in its earlier years. Visit our Child Care page to see updated photos of its transformation!

In 1997 Terra moved into its downtown building increasing the number of young families that could be served. Our partnership with Edmonton Public School continued at this time with the school program moving to Braemar School from St. Brides. In 1998, the Child and Family Support Centre opened onsite at Braemar School accommodating 54 infant and toddlers and offering additional support services for students. More recently, Terra has updated its look, name, vision and mission.

Now Terra Centre for Teen Parents, our breadth of services has grown and continues to evolve. What started as a society focused on helping young moms complete their high school education is now an organization that offers a multi-faceted, comprehensive approach to helping young parents and their children reach their full potential. Terra now offers a variety of programs, including: Family Outreach, Services for Young Dads, Housing through Partnerships, Literacy Programs, Mental Health Support Services, Youth Leadership Program, and more.

Where We Are Now

IMG_6121

A young dad engaging with his daughter as he drops her off at our Child and Family Support Centre.

Today, Terra provides support, services, and necessities to 1,500 young parents and children each year. We have 65 employees located at three different sites that allow us to offer a diverse range of programs at no cost to young families thanks to committed funders and donors

We are proud to lead the way in serving young dads and to employ male Outreach Workers who focus specifically on providing young dads with highly individualized support to achieve their goals in being involved and engaged in their children’s lives.

We are able to accept young parents at whatever point they are at in their journey and tailor our services to meet their distinct needs and circumstances. We understand that each young parent’s experiences are unique to them and our Starting Point program reflects that.

Most importantly, Terra contributes to the well-being of our community’s most vulnerable children. Teen parents gain valuable skills and become more knowledgeable about infant care, bonding, attachment, developmental play, guiding behaviors and positive discipline that increase their capacity to parent more effectively and create a solid foundation on which to build a family life.

Our Approach to Services

Our staff team uses an integrated service model meaning that at Terra we all work together with the parent to help ensure they achieve their goals and that our services meet their needs. Many young parents access numerous programs at one time from across the agency including counselling and childcare at Braemar School, housing, community outreach, group support and others. The parent and the service team work collectively – sharing information and jointly planning who and how services will be provided. 

Over the past 45 years Terra has built many strong and positive relationships with other community agencies that support our efforts in serving teen parents and their children.  There is little that Terra does in isolation. Our partners share their services, expertise,

resources, staff and space. These collaborations are crucial to the current and future success of our young families.

Plans for the Future

Terra has built upon a dynamic, responsive and collaborative approach by capitalizing on partnerships and relationships. We are true to our mission yet recognize when opportunities are present that will strengthen our future and ensure we remain a relevant organization. We will continue to build on our strengths specifically in early child development. The healthy development of children is at the heart of Terra. When we look to the future – expanding opportunities for early learning and care are underway. Limited access to infant childcare is the most significant barrier for young parents pursing their education.   

There are many complex challenges as a result of teen pregnancy. These are well documented in research and can impact young parents for life. Terra has a role to play in the prevention of teen pregnancy. In partnership with other community stakeholders, we look forward to working toward reducing the incidence of teen pregnancy helping to ensure every young person in our community reaches their fullest potential.

Given the growth and diversity of services that has evolved over the last 15 years in particular, Terra is in need of a new home. Our building on 106 Street downtown has served us well but because it is an office building and there are many limitations. Our future vision includes building a community hub where the larger community can join us in better serving young families and their children – a place where diversity and synergy come together. Our community hub will be a place that our partners will be welcome to access space and resources, a place from which they too can serve the greater community. Terra has always dreamed big and realizing this vision will create new opportunities to support young parents in achieving their promising future.